Speldhurst, St Mary the Virgin

Photo: Dickon Love, 13th Jul 2005

  • 8 bells hung for full circle ringing and a bell hung for swing chiming
  • Tenor: 13 cwt approx. in F♯.
  • Grid Ref: TQ553414
  • Rung from: Upstairs Ringing Room
  • Denomination: Church of England
    Diocese (Anglican): Rochester
  • Kent County Association of Change Ringers District: Tonbridge
  • Building Listed Grade: II* Click for Heritage details.
  • Peals rung at the tower

  • Sound clip of the ring of bells.(I have lost the name of the person who donated this recording - for which I apologise. 2004)

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)

(As recorded by G&J dispatched 1933)

(Prior to 1933 (Whitechapel archives))
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
® Treble 4¼ approx.4-1-194-2-2426⅝" F♯ 1887 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1933 Gillett & Johnston
® 2 4½ cwt approx.4-2-204-3-1127⅜" E♯ 1887 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Removed 1933 Gillett & Johnston
® 3 5 cwt approx.5-0-115-0-2529½" D♯ 1849 Charles & George Mears, Whitechapel Removed 1933 Gillett & Johnston
® 4 6¼ cwt approx.6-1-166-0-331½" C♯ 1849 Charles & George Mears, Whitechapel Removed 1933 Gillett & Johnston
® 5 6½ cwt approx.6-2-196-0-1633½" B 1849 Charles & George Mears, Whitechapel Removed 1933 Gillett & Johnston
® 6 6¾ cwt approx.not recorded6-3-1034" A♯ 1849 Charles & George Mears, Whitechapel Removed Never
® 7 10-1-1810-1-89-2-038" G♯ 1933 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (4778) Flat Never
® Tenor 13 cwt approx.not recorded13-1-2642" F♯ 1849 Charles & George Mears, Whitechapel Removed Never
Service bell 4-1-20not recorded4-1-2025¾" G♯ 1920 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Flat Never

®  - Hung for full circle ringing
 - Hung dead


Frame Bells Year Maker Material Truss(es) Local
Single level 1 1,2,5,6,7,8 1849 Unknown Timber
Single level 1.1 3,4 1887 Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel Timber


Prior to 1933.

Bell Weight
(most recent)
7th (of 8)9-2-01849Charles & George MearsNeverRecast 1933


1791 Church set on fire by lightning, melting the 4 bells. [1]
1812 A bell was cast from the metal of the melted bells byThomas Mears.
1849 5 bells were cast by Charles and George Mears forming bells 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 around the 1812 bell. The timber frame for six probably dates from this time.
1871 New church completed by J. Oldrid Scott.
1887 2 trebles added by Mears & Stainbank to make 8. The frame was probably adapted at this time to accommodate the trebles.
1914 Bells rehung by Mears & Stainbank.
1920 A new bell cast by Mears & Stainbank and hung for swing chiming in the intermediate chamber. Given by Mrs Winton in memory of Mr E W Winton, it has often been said that this was intended to be the second of a future 10. Whilst the Editor hasn't pitched this bell, it is something that the local ringers deny. Press reports at the time and a plaque affixed to the belfry door described this bell as a "treble". [2]
1931 Bells rehung by Mears & Stainbank.
1933 7th recast and back 6 retuned by Gillett & Johnston. They were dedicated on 7th April. [3]
1974 4th rehung by Whitechapel.
1981 7th rehung by Whitechapel.
1986 The canons from bells 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 were removed and they were rehung by Whitechapel.
[1] Thursday evening the parish church of Speldhurst near Tonbridge, took fire by the lightning which consumed the whole, and melted all the bells. (Kentish Gazette (Friday 28 October 1791))
[2] PARISH CHURCH.- The table, by Barkentin and Krall, which has been presented by Mrs. Winton in connection with the bell ercted by her and her family in memory of Mr. E. W. Winton has now been affixed to the belfry door. The inscription runs thus:- "The treble bell was hung in this tower in September, 1920, in loving memory of Edwin W. Winton, died 14th February, 1919 Rector's Warden of this Parish Church from 1885 to 1908. (Kent & Sussex Courier, Fri 10 Dec 1920)
[3] SPELDHURST BELLS RESTORED. A DOUBLE SERVICE BY THE BIS HOP OF ROCHESTER. On Friday evening, April 7th, the ring of eight bells at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Speldhurst, was rededicated by the Lord Bishop of Rochester. The fine old church appears to in perfect condition, and it is interesting to note that one of the churchwardens, Mr. C. W. Powell, J.P., D.L., who is a cousin of the Chief Scout, has been responsible in a great measure for the restorations of the church from time to time, and that his family has had a long association with the church and the bells, the treble bearing the names of two past members of the family some 50 years ago. For the joint service a full congregation was in attendance, including some 70 candidates for Confirmation. Immediately at the close of the dedication of the bells, the Bishop addressed the candidates and proceeded to their Confirmation. The procession of 40 girls "all dressed in white, headed by the Rector, the Rev. J. H. Masters, as they filed into the church, gave a picturesque touch to a ceremony intimately connected with the bells. The usual dedication rounds were rung by the local band, and the first touch after the service was a 504 of Grandsire Triples by Messrs. Moon, A. Maynard, Still, Turley, Denton, V. Maynard, Collins (of Croydon) and E. Turley, sen. Mr. Cyril Johnston also took part in subsequent ringing, which continued till 9 p.m. The bells are a peal of eight, with a 13 cwt. tenor in F sharp. No. 7 has been recast and the whole peal tuned by Messrs. Gillett and Johnston, and the marked improvement in the tune and effect of the peal was the subject of much comment and satisfaction to the village of Speldhurst. (Ringing World, 1933)

Recent Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
2011-08-205120 Ealing Surprise Major
2006-11-115056 Cambridge Surprise Major
2005-11-125040 Grandsire Triples
1905-01-215184 Kent Treble Bob Major
1904-01-275024 Plain Bob Major
1903-12-025088 Plain Bob Major
1903-09-055088 Kent Treble Bob Major
1903-02-145024 Plain Bob Major
1903-01-245184 Kent Treble Bob Major
1902-12-125040 Grandsire Triples
1902-09-075008 Plain Bob Major
1902-04-255040 Grandsire Triples
1902-04-125040 Grandsire Triples
1901-11-275376 Kent Treble Bob Major
1901-09-065040 Grandsire Triples
1901-08-255056 Kent Treble Bob Major
1899-09-165024 Double Norwich Court Bob Major
1898-12-305024 Kent Treble Bob Major
1898-10-195040 Grandsire Triples
1898-09-045024 Kent Treble Bob Major
1898-02-265184 Kent Treble Bob Major
1898-02-055024 Kent Treble Bob Major
1898-01-265056 Plain Bob Major
1897-12-155024 Kent Treble Bob Major
1897-10-205088 Kent Treble Bob Major
Recent Quarter Peals
The most recent performances, according to BellBoard.
2023-11-261260 Grandsire Triples
2023-11-041260 Doubles (2m)
2023-05-061260 Grandsire Triples
2023-04-301296 Plain Bob Major
2023-01-221260 Plain Bob Minor
2022-10-301260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
2022-07-031260 Grandsire Triples
2021-11-281260 Grandsire Triples
2021-09-051260 Grandsire Triples
2020-03-011250 Yorkshire Surprise Major
2020-02-161280 Plain Bob Major
2020-01-051260 Grandsire Triples
2019-12-151260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
2019-11-011260 Doubles (2m)
2019-10-201260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
2019-09-011296 Single Canterbury Pleasure Bob Major
2019-08-181264 Plain Bob Major
2019-08-041260 Plain Bob Triples
2019-07-211260 Grandsire Triples
2019-07-121260 Plain Bob Doubles
2019-07-071260 Single Oxford Bob Triples
2019-06-021320 Shifnal Alliance Major
2019-05-281260 Plain Bob Triples
2019-05-071260 Stedman Triples
2019-04-231260 Plain Bob Doubles
Full list of peals on Bellboard here
Full list of quarters on Bellboard here

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 1 March 2021